Researchers at University College Cork have found that molecules found in a spice used to prepare curries have killed oesophageal cancer cells in the laboratory.

The results of the study have been published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Scientists at the Cork Cancer Research Centre treated oesophageal cancer cells with curcumin, which is a chemical found in the spice turmeric.

Among the findings were that curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.

Around 350 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in Ireland each year, with a further 7,800 in the UK.

According to Professor Gerald O'Sullivan, Director of the Cork Cancer Research Centre at UCC, the research opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer.